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Favorite Edition Rewind: 1984

[Thompson Twins - Into the Gap]

A decade ago, I wrote a series of entries ranking my favorite albums from 1985 to 2004. My collection has expanded greatly since then, particularly in the last five years. So I wanted to see what has changed in 10 years.

And now we enter some new territory. I didn’t start collecting music in earnest till 1985, and I wouldn’t start exploring catalog music till 2005. Raiding thrift shops has allowed me to fill in a lot of history, which is why were expanding the range of this retrospective to as far back as 1978. Today, we start with 1984.

  1. Stephen Sondheim, Sunday in the Park with George
  2. The Replacements, Let It Be
  3. Soundtrack, Amadeus
  4. Andersson / Rice / Ulvaeus, Chess
  5. Art of Noise, Who’s Afraid of? … the Art of Noise!
  6. Madonna, Like a Virgin
  7. Prince and the Revolution, Purple Rain
  8. Bruce Springsteen, Born in the USA
  9. Arvo Pärt, Tabula Rasa
  10. Thompson Twins, Into the Gap

Other favorites from the year:

  • Guadalcanal Diary, Walking in the Shadows of the Big Man
  • Nena, 99 Luftballons
  • Eurythmics, 1984 (For the Love of Big Brother)
  • Sade, Diamond Life

I was much more into arcade video games — the classic era of Pac-Man and Galaga — than music in 1984. The only album I owned from that time is 99 Luftballons. Everything else I would discover later.

My 12-year-old self would not have known what to make of the Replacements or Arvo Pärt. He would have scoffed and wretched over the idea that Madonna or Prince could rank on such a list. They were his brother’s albums, after all.

He certainly did not have the sophistication or patience for two LPs of Mozart, although he might have really liked watching Amadeus.

And he would have definitely protested the inclusion of Bruce Springsteen on the list, all the while gazing lustily after the cover of Born in the USA.

He would have totally understood the Thompson Twins, though.

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Favorite Edition Rewind: 1985

[The Outfield - Play Deep]

A decade ago, I wrote a series of entries ranking my favorite albums from 1985 to 2004. My collection has expanded greatly since then, particularly in the last five years. So I wanted to see what has changed in 10 years.

This list is the last of the original years covered in my previous survey. The Favorite 10 hasn’t changed, but the extended list has gotten longer.

  1. Tears for Fears, Songs from the Big Chair
  2. Sting, The Dream of the Blue Turtles
  3. Arcadia, So Red the Rose
  4. ABC, How to Be a Zillionaire!
  5. 10,000 Manaics, The Wishing Chair
  6. Clannad, Macalla
  7. Kate Bush, Hounds of Love
  8. Soundtrack, Macross Song Collection
  9. Midnight Oil, Red Sails in the Sunset
  10. Andrew Lloyd Webber, Requiem

Other favorites from the year::

  • Camper Van Beethoven, Telephone Free Landslide Victory
  • Eurythmics, Be Yourself Tonight
  • Hiroshima, Another Place
  • The Pogues, Rum Sodomy and the Lash
  • Simple Minds, Once Upon a Time
  • Sade, Promise
  • Hüsker Dü, New Day Rising
  • The Replacements, Tim
  • The Outfield, Play Deep
  • INXS, Listen Like Thieves
  • Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam with Full Force, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam with Full Force
  • The Power Station, The Power Station
  • The Family, The Family
  • Prince and the Revolution, Around the World in a Day

Younger Me would approve of most of this list.

He would have gasped at the inclusion of Prince, considering the Sibling Rivalry Collection Race was at its height, and this kind of intrusion would be accompanied by a drubbing.

And he would groaned at the inclusion of The Outfield. Older Me would then advise him to wait 20 years before a real appreciation could begin.

I capped this survey at 1985 because my collection before that year wasn’t extensive enough for much punditry. Weekly visits to thrift shops in the last three years have allowed me to fill in enough gaps to keep going till 1978.

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Favorite Edition Rewind: 1986

[Nakamori Akina - Fushigi]

A decade ago, I wrote a series of entries ranking my favorite albums from 1985 to 2004. My collection has expanded greatly since then, particularly in the last five years. So I wanted to see what has changed in 10 years.

In 2008, my collection tapered off with releases before 1987. I went so far as to call 1986 an uninteresting year. I’ve since had time to explore the year in greater depth.

  1. The Art of Noise, In Visible Silence
  2. Janet Jackson, Control
  3. Soundtrack, Megazone 23 Song Collection
  4. Paul Simon, Graceland
  5. XTC, Skylarking
  6. The Smiths, The Queen is Dead
  7. Prince & the Revolution, Parade
  8. Nakamori Akina, Fushigi
  9. Duran Duran, Notorious
  10. Club Nouveau, Life, Love and Pain

Other favorites from the year:

  • Anita Baker, Rapture
  • Bananarama, True Confessions
  • Fishbone, In Your Face
  • Run DMC, Raising Hell
  • Peter Gabriel, So
  • John Adams, Harmonielehre
  • Enya, Enya
  • Dwight Yoakam, Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc. Etc.
  • R.E.M., Lifes Rich Pageant
  • Pet Shop Boys, Please
  • Kronos Quartet, Music of Sculthorpe, Sallinen, Glass, Nancarrow, Hendrix
  • The Human League, Crash

If you told Younger Me that Older Me would like So and Raising Hell, Younger Me would wretch. At the time, Run DMC and Peter Gabriel were so ubiquitous, I felt I would never need to hear “Walk This Way” or “Sledgehamer” for the rest of my life.

One advantage of growing older is no longer caring about looking at all fashionable.

Younger Me would have been puzzled by the inclusion of Dwight Yoakam on the extended list, to which Older Me would have to tell Younger Me to wait 9 years.

Younger Me: Oh, I was wondering whether I should get that Human League album. Is it really that good?
Older Me: Yeah, but I don’t think you’d quite appreciate it at your station in life. Wait a few years.
Younger Me: Really? How many?
Older Me: 30.

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Favorite Edition Rewind: 1992

[Helmet - Meantime]

A decade ago, I wrote a series of entries ranking my favorite albums from 1985 to 2004. My collection has expanded greatly since then, particularly in the last five years. So I wanted to see what has changed in 10 years.

We’ve actually revisited 1992 earlier in the year, and this list hasn’t changed, although I did tack on L7 and Helmet in the extended list.

  1. Wayne Horvitz / The President, Miracle Mile
  2. Máire Brennan, Máire
  3. Henryk Górecki, Symphony No. 3 (Dawn Upshaw, David Zinman, London Sinfonietta)
  4. k.d. lang, Ingenue
  5. Sade, Love Deluxe
  6. En Vogue, Funky Divas
  7. Prince and the New Power Generation, 0(+> (Love Symbol Album)
  8. Emmylou Harris and the Nash Ramblers, At the Ryman
  9. Kronos Quartet, Pieces of Africa
  10. Robin Holcomb, Rockabye

Other favorites from the year:

  • The Sugarcubes, Stick Around for Joy
  • Faith No More, Angel Dust
  • Sonic Youth, Dirty
  • Helmet, Meantime
  • L7, Bricks Are Heavy

Helmet got caught up in the grunge craze of the early ’90s, even though they were clearly not grunge. Wikipedia says Helmet’s staccato riffage would influence Mastodon, Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Korn and Linkin Park.

I’ll admit I picked up Meantime because of the grunge-adjacent marketing hype. I didn’t hold onto it, but like Shudder to Think’s Pony Express Record, I couldn’t shake it. So I brought it back into my collection when it was reissued on vinyl earlier in the year.

Bricks Are Heavy also suffered a bit of guilt by association. Butch Vig had been doing miraculous work with Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana and Sonic Youth. Surely, L7 would follow in that vein. I didn’t warm up to it. I’m not sure how 25 years turned around my perception of the album, but it did.

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Favorite Edition Rewind: 1994

[Soundtrack - Interview with a Vampire]

A decade ago, I wrote a series of entries ranking my favorite albums from 1985 to 2004. My collection has expanded greatly since then, particularly in the last five years. So I wanted to see what has changed in 10 years.

The original list from 1994 didn’t even include an extended list. That’s how austere the selections from the year were.

  1. Talitha Mackenzie, Solas
  2. Freedy Johnston, This Perfect World
  3. Wayne Horvitz/Pigpen, V as in Victim
  4. Harry Connick, Jr., She
  5. Guided By Voices, Bee Thousand
  6. Everything But the Girl, Amplified Heart
  7. Kronos Quartet, Night Prayers
  8. Jayne Cortez and the Firespitters, Cheerful & Optimistic
  9. John Zorn/Masada, Alef
  10. Madonna, Bedtime Stories

Other favorites from the year:

  • Prince, The Black Album
  • Blur, Parklife
  • Pizzicato Five, Made in USA
  • Shudder to Think, Pony Express Record
  • Elliott Goldenthal, Interview with a Vampire

At the time of its limited release, I was actually very curious about The Black Album. Part of it was all the hype surrounding its initial aborted release, but I was still mostly ambivalent about Prince to pass on it. Its underdog status among Prince’s work makes me like it just a bit more.

A top 10 list I would have compiled in 1994 would have listed the Interview with a Vampire soundtrack. It’s actually a really good score. It’s too bad the movie sucked eggs. I watched twice — the first time to evaluate its faithfulness to the novel (somewhat), the second to evaluate it as a film (awful). The only thing that mars the soundtrack is the unfortunate cover of Sympathy for the Devil by Guns N’ Roses.

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Favorite Edition Rewind: 1995

[Tracy Chapman - New Beginning]

A decade ago, I wrote a series of entries ranking my favorite albums from 1985 to 2004. My collection has expanded greatly since then, particularly in the last five years. So I wanted to see what has changed in 10 years.

I had trouble coming up with a Favorite 10 of 1995, so I left it at nine. I’ve since had time to fill the remaining spot with an album I shouldn’t have let go.

  1. Emmylou Harris, Wrecking Ball
  2. The Klezmatics, Jews with Horns
  3. John Zorn/Masada, Hei
  4. Värttinä, Aitara
  5. Björk, Post
  6. Enya, The Memory of Trees
  7. Kronos Quartet, Performs Philip Glass
  8. Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill
  9. Tears for Fears, Raoul and the Kings of Spain
  10. Tracy Chapman, New Beginning

Other favorites from the year:

  • Prince, The Gold Experience
  • Bang on a Can All-Stars, Industry
  • Janet Jackson, Design of a Decade, 1986-1996
  • Fugazi, Red Medicine
  • Radiohead, The Bends
  • Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Brainbloodvolume
  • John Zorn, Elegy and Kristallnacht

A year-end list at the time would have included Tracy Chapman, but New Beginning got cut in purge before the original list was compiled. It took the discovery of her second album, Crossroads, for me to revisit New Beginning and realizing what a mistake I’d made.

The Gold Experience is a surprising entry in the extended list. The era when Prince was known by the Love Symbol was a creatively fraught time, so it overshadows just how good The Gold Experience is.

I’ve attempted to explore Radiohead in the past few years to understand my general ambivalence to them. So far, The Bends is the only album I really like, which is of course an obvious choice. Modern classical musicians all seem to love them, which surprises me. Café Tacuba does far more interesting work.

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Purchase log, 2018-09-25

[Prince - Piano & a Microphone 1983]

I catalog my music purchases on Collectorz and Discogs, but they don’t give me a sense of change over time. So I’m noting them here weekly as well.

New releases

CD
  • Mandy Barnett, Strange Conversation
  • Prince, Piano and a Microphone 1983

Catalog

CD
  • Clannad, In a Lifetime: The Best of Clannad
  • Gabriel Fauré / Giovanni Palestrina, Requiem / Pavane / Missa Papae Marcelli (Choir of King’s College)
  • Julee Cruise, The Voice of Love
  • Metallica, Ride the Lightning (Remastered)
  • Taylor Swift, 1989 (Target edition)

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Looking ahead, August-September 2018

[Steve Grand - Not the End of Me]

So many gay male artists are releasing new music this summer, it makes me wonder why they all didn’t put everything out in June. But muses can’t be rushed. Nor marketing plans.

Steve Grand, Not the End of Me, July 6

I listen to a lot of really serious music. I need Steve Grand to stop me from being too melancholy.

Luciano Berio, Sinfonia (Roomful of Teeth, Seattle Symphony, Ludovic Morlot), July 20

I went to the Saturday performance of this piece on the recommendation of my music theory professor.

Jake Shears, Jake Shears, Aug. 10

I’ve never really cottoned to Scissor Sisters, even though they seem to be in my wheelhouse.

Death Cab for Cutie, Thank You for Today, Aug. 17

The first two albums of Death Cab’s major label of phase made me wonder if they would follow R.E.M.’s downward creative trajectory in a similar fashion, but Codes and Keys and Kintsugi actually stemmed that tide. I’m not encouraged by the band’s comparison of this new album to Narrow Stairs, however.

Julee Cruise, Three Demos, Aug. 17

I loved Floating Into the Night, so I’m curious to hear these early drafts. A reissue of The Voice of Love also arrives the same day.

Troye Sivan, Bloom, Aug. 31

I was nowhere near the target market for Blue Neighborhood, but I liked it anyway.

Craig Armstrong, Sun on You, Sept. 7

Craig Armstrong is known more for his film scores, mostly because few of his studio albums get US releases. Here’s hoping a streaming release makes up for that drought.

Renée Fleming, Broadway, Sept. 7

A Broadway album? With Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Tell Me on a Sunday”? And a song from Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music that isn’t “Send in the Clowns”? OK, Renée Fleming, I’ll bite.

Prince, Piano and a Microphone 1983, Sept. 14

Sure, I’m curious enough to check out this set of demos, but what I’d like to know is when the vinyl reissue campaign will get to the Love Symbol album.

Vinyl

U2, Achtung Baby, July 27
U2, Zooropa, July 27

Zooropa is an odd album in the U2 canon, recorded in a spontaneous rush with experiments that work (“Numb”) and some that fail (“Lemon”). Despite a lavish repackaging, Achtung Baby had not yet been reissued in stand-alone black vinyl.

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Purchase log, 2018-04-24

[Duran Duran - Budokan]

I catalog my music purchases on Collectorz and Discogs, but they don’t give me a sense of change over time. So I’m noting them here weekly as well.

It’s the Record Store Day 2018 entry!

New Releases

Vinyl
  • Brian Eno with Kevin Shields, The Weight of History / Only Once Away My Son
  • Cypress Hill, Black Sunday Remixes
  • David Bowie, Let’s Dance Demo
  • Duran Duran, Budokan
  • Jason Isbell and 400 Unit, Live at Twist & Shout 11.16.07
  • John Luther Adams, Canticles of the Sky (Oliver Coates)
  • Living Colour, “Live at CBGB’s” Tuesday 12/19/89
  • Rage Against the Machine, Democratic National Convention 2000
  • Sufjan Stevens, Mystery of Love
  • The Streets, Remixes + B-Sides
  • Wilco, Live at the Troubador L.A. 1996

Catalog

CD
  • Culture Club, Colour By Numbers
  • Elvis Costello, This Year’s Model
  • Frank Zappa, Ship Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch
  • Heart, Heart
  • Lee Morgan, The Sidewinder
  • The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced? (Remastered)
  • The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses

Reissues

 Vinyl
  • Florian Fricke, Florian Fricke Spielt Mozart
  • Prince, 1999 (1983 single disc version)
  • Uncle Tupelo, No Depression — Demos

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Purchase log, 2018-04-04

[Diana Ross - Diana]

I catalog my music purchases on Collectorz and Discogs, but they don’t give me a sense of change over time. So I’m noting them here weekly as well.

New Releases

Vinyl
  • Steve Reich, Pulse / Quartet

Catalog

CDs
  • Diana Ross, Diana
  • Everything But the Girl, The Language of Life
  • Miles Davis, In a Silent Way
  • Prince, The Gold Experience
  • Thelonious Monk, Brilliant Corners
  • Thelonious Monk, Monk’s Blues

Reissues

Vinyl
  • SUPERCAR, ANSWER
  • SUPERCAR, HIGHVISION

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